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The Internet Games

What's the Best Video Game Download Service? 227

Posted by Soulskill
from the usenet-and-bittorrent-don't-count dept.
ThinSkin writes "Who needs a brick-and-mortar game shop when you have the world wide web of video game download services? Joel Durham Jr. over at ExtremeTech examines some game download services to decide once and for all which virtual storefront has the best deal for gamers. Among the services reviewed are: Steam, Impulse, Direct2Drive, Good Old Games, and WildTangent Orb. The most popular site in the roundup, Steam, was also the most favored because of its wide selection of popular titles, while Direct2Drive also scored top marks because it has 'just about every title in the universe.'" Which service(s) do you like the most, and what have your experiences with them been?
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What's the Best Video Game Download Service?

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  • Bah,. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kalriath (849904) * on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @12:34AM (#25131363)

    Great. Another pointless "top X" list spread across twelve ad-ridden pages. Who accepts this crap? Editors? Hello?

    Anyways, I disagree with their final decisions too. Their top two are Steam (bloated DRM-ware) and Direct2Drive (also bloated DRM-ware) while giving Impulse (no DRM inherent) third place. In fact, they don't even list DRM as a con of Steam or Direct2Drive (or "no DRM" as a pro of Impulse).

    Give me Impulse over Steam or D2D any day.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I believe the correct answer is your favorite torrent tracker. Skip this article it is useless, forget this discussion and forget all the comments. No service will ever top the pirates. Ever. And you can write that in stone and quote me for eternity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kalriath (849904) *

        Bollocks. I don't mind paying for a game, provided the game doesn't cause more hassle than I can get enjoyment out of it. I'm happy to buy a game if I can install it and play it, without having to worry about whether this game or that's arcane copy protection prevents me playing it on my {insert setup here}.

        If noone ever buys the game, they'll stop making them. Duh.

        • Re:Bah,. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @12:48AM (#25131487)

          I'm happy to buy games, I refuse to rent them. Especially if it's misadvertised as buying.

        • Re:Bah,. (Score:5, Informative)

          by nog_lorp (896553) * on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @12:58AM (#25131591)

          For 99% of games available on Steam, if the game will work on your setup so will Steam.

          Steam also doesn't limit your ability to have the game installed on any number of computers. It also provides a myriad of features that many people like.

          The motivation behind it may be DRM, but it provides a better experience than any other platform, with essentially none of the negative effects of DRM.

          • Re:Bah,. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @01:25AM (#25131815) Journal

            I love Steam. It's actually easier than piracy. (FINALLY!) Find a game, purchase, download, done. Never have to worry about disks. Can install on multiple machines. Honestly, with the system issues I've had the last year with reinstalling the OS on several machines, Steam made life SO much easier with just setting it downloading and leaving it. No finding disks. No disk swapping. No trying to find the misplaced manual with the serial number on it. Nada.

            Stardock's Impulse service may prove in the end to be better than Steam due to lack of DRM, but the fact is Impulse is a diabolical piece of software currently.

            • Re:Bah,. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Mooga (789849) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @01:47AM (#25131995)

              I agree that it's actually easier then piracy. Not that piracy is hard, but Steam just makes it so easy. It auto-installs everything and WORKS with no problems.

              My only issue with Steam is that you need to have steam running which could effect game performance on weak computer. If you have a nice rig, don't expect any issues.

              That list is pointless though. They give everything a high ranking and doing explain much. "They offer AAA games and it work". What about things like customer support? Valve has a cryptic customer support system. Basically you write a note and you hope they get to it within a few weeks. No phone calls, only the message system.

              Sure the systems work, but why write an article if you don't actually get down to the dirty issues. What about the whole "WildTangent is spyware" issue? The lack of information makes the article useless.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                I've never had cause to deal with Steam's support. I did deal with Direct2Drive's recently. I don't have anything through them, but was curious how the Spore DRM would work and had a few other questions, so I sent an email asking about four questions. I received a response which answer one of them. So I figured I'd escalate to one of their managers. It tells you how in their information, so I did everything it said.

                And that was a month ago and I've heard nothing.

                Only issue I've had with Steam was with GTR-E

                • by Kalriath (849904) *

                  Oh I know. IGN support sucks and their accounts payable department is even worse - they have this bad habit of taking as long to pay my invoices as they do to reply to your customer service enquiries.

                  I'd be surprised if you EVER got a response.

                • Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.

                  That's a quote from someone, but I don't recall who said it originally. Google was helpful in confirming the proper wording, but not with attribution. Once a quote makes it into the fortunes file, all bets are off.

                  • Actually, the quote is "Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one in which you are least interested and say nothing about the other." and it's known as "Weed's Axiom".

                    I still don't know anything about who Weed is, or if it's actually the name of the original speaker or writer of that quote. I just found that attribution in some quote files.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by neoform (551705)

              Downside of steam:

              You need to be logged in to the internet to use any of your games. Even if they're single player games. There have been a number of times where I had lost my internet connection for a day or two and was unable to play those games, that was annoying.

              • Re:Bah,. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Don_dumb (927108) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @08:52AM (#25134435)

                Downside of steam:

                You need to be logged in to the internet to use any of your games. Even if they're single player games. There have been a number of times where I had lost my internet connection for a day or two and was unable to play those games, that was annoying.

                This keeps coming up but you don't need to always be online. There is an option (I'm not at home right now) that prevents you needing to be online to access your Steam client. Has this changed in the last few months?

                • by p0tat03 (985078)
                  No, I just moved apartments and the internet at my new place is still pretty unstable. I've been able to play my singleplayer Steam games regardless, and I'm actually very happy about it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Pyrion (525584)

            Except you can only be logged into your Steam account on one computer at a time.

            Impulse doesn't care.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by harl (84412)

            Steam has the worst possible DRM. If you went into a brick and mortar store and they said they reserved the right to take your "purchase" back at any time would you still buy it?

            From http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/ [steampowered.com]

            2. In the case of a one-time purchase of a product license (e.g., purchase of a single game) from Valve, Valve may choose to terminate or cancel your Subscription in its entirety or may terminate or cancel only a portion of the Subscription (e.g., access to the software via St

            • Subscriber Agreement < First Sale Rights.
              • by harl (84412)

                Irrelevant. Please read your contract. They are quite explicit that you are not purchasing anything. There is no sale thus first-sale doctrine doesn't apply.

            • by mmalove (919245)

              It's EULAs and TOS like this that, in my opinion, make personal piracy a completely moral decision. When a company chooses to force it's customers to sign away any trace of consumer protections they ought to be granting, I lose all concern for that company or its employee's ability to turn a profit.

        • by Cougem (734635)
          Whilst I am very much anti-DRM, I do slightly agree with this person, with regards to steam, anyway. Steam's DRM, whilst definitely there, is packaged up and used more as a method of validating downloads, or whatever. I know you have to sign in etc. every time you use it, but it will still allow you to install the software on any and every machine you want (although of course, only playing it on one at a time). It is a well worked piece of software, with benefits such as a community, player tracking etc.
      • Re:Bah,. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cliffski (65094) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:01AM (#25132723) Homepage

        I provide people who buy games with a direct, no queue, no fuss link to an installer exe. They can use a download manager or grab it however they like, they can then install it, or burn it to a disk for backup, they don't need an internet connection on the machine where they install it, and they don't need an account with me, or have anything else installed on their machine or running in the background. There is no DRM or limitations or restrictions.

        The download is direct and fast from my website, and in case of tech support, you email me, the games creator directly. I always reply within 24 hours, normally within 8.

        There are no middlemen, just a payment provider, so 90% of the money goes direct to the creator.

        Explain to me how the pirate system beats mine? ...unless perhaps you don't care about anything but getting commercial software for free?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gewalt (1200451)

          Selection :) You don't offer 90% of all games ever made.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          It doesn't. You're doing things mostly right.

          The one thing I'd like to point out is that I didn't see any mention of Linux anywhere on the site. If you're writing your own game, why not provide a linux build? Or you could at least test them under Wine to let me know whether I should bother even downloading the demo.

          Otherwise it looks like you have a nice catalog of games at a reasonable price. Good job.

    • Re:Bah,. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ozphx (1061292) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @01:22AM (#25131787) Homepage

      Steam being bloated? Steam takes up under a hundred meg of the 12 gig of steam games I have installed.

      Have a louder cry about the DRM. I'm sure you'd love games costing several million dollars to develop shoved up on FTP with an honesty box, but someone with any brainpower whatsoever would realise that its fucking retarded.

      The entire friction the steam DRM setup gives me is having to type a password once, and then tick the "remember me" box. Its a hell of a lot more convenient than CD-keys, its a hell of a lot more convenient than CDs, and I can happily play games offline (despite what the whingers say).

      The biggest selling point is they have put in just enough protection to attract A-list games for distribution, rather than the rather crappy lineup Impulse offers.

      I guess it also means that in ten years when valve shuts down and the person that buys their platform, decides that out of maliciousness they don't want to continue offering the service, and also that at that stage I am too poor to afford 3D Virtual Lesbian Extravaganza on my VR rig, then I might be saying "Well, damn, I can't play TF2 against the other three people that are still trying to play it". But thats fairly unlikely.

      • Re:Bah,. (Score:5, Informative)

        by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:28AM (#25132245) Homepage

        It's important to explicitly call out the properties of DRM that make it bad. DRM is out there to prevent the player from willy-nilly installing on everyone's PC's, which can be bad as it prevents you from switching computers or backing up your own games. Steam actually facilitates transferrence, as you can download any purchased games on any computer you log into. You don't need a CD to play, you don't need a CD to install on another computer, you can play your games on all the computers you have available.

        Steam only runs with your games, doesn't take up a lot of CPU time, and has been stable for several years now. The one outstanding question is "what happens if Valve shuts down," but they have promised to unlock everything in such a case.

        If we shout that DRM in all forms is terrible, none of the companies will or can listen. If we work towards removing the problematic portions of the system, we might get a compromise setup that is better than we started with.

        All consoles since the NES have had DRM. But because they were actually sane DRM, nobody but pirates and developers ever encountered it. Let's work towards that again.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Spinalcold (955025)
          I like the convenience of Steam, it's just so slow! No one else has really complained about this, so it could, for some strange reason, just be my setup, but even after a fresh install it takes forever to after booting Steam to verify each game is updated and download the updates. Then, the games take a long time to boot, the only think I can think of is that Steam is slowing the booting process down. Eg. Starcraft boots in a few seconds, Halflife takes a minute for Steam to boot and verify updates and a
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by p0tat03 (985078)

            I'm not sure about the slowness of Steam - I've experienced it myself on other machines before. On my current machine though, things boot in a matter of seconds, and downloading from the Steam servers is up to 2MB/s for me, so I'm still a happy customer.

            The only thing that pisses me off is that no effort is made to update old titles to run on new machines. How can you justify selling, for example, Deus Ex 2, when the game clearly will BSOD any dual-core machine? They didn't warn of it either.

        • Re:Bah,. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by harl (84412) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @09:07AM (#25134585)

          "The one outstanding question is "what happens if Valve shuts down," but they have promised to unlock everything in such a case."

          A couple points:

          Can you document this claim? The legal contract you sign when renting a game from Steam says otherwise. The only reference I find is that if they cut you off from access to Steam they "may but is not obligated to" provide a stand alone version.

          If Valve/Steam fails there will likely be a transfer of ownership to people who didn't make the claim and have no intention of honoring the claim.

        • by CFTM (513264)

          CPU? Yeah you're right, Steam tends to be decent about that one, but try memory...

          If you allow Steam to run for any length of time, my experience is that it begins sucking up memory like a college sorority chick at her first kegger sucking, well you know...

      • by Kalriath (849904) *

        I'm sure you'd love games costing several million dollars to develop shoved up on FTP with an honesty box, but someone with any brainpower whatsoever would realise that its fucking retarded.

        You know, back in the old days, games were released without the ridiculous protections and they still sold... and some argue (I don't) that games back then were better quality anyway. And who said the only method of digital distribution was an honesty box? Apogee's method was brilliant - games were episodes and you could pick up the first episode for free, and buy the rest off them.

        The entire friction the steam DRM setup gives me is having to type a password once, and then tick the "remember me" box. Its a hell of a lot more convenient than CD-keys, its a hell of a lot more convenient than CDs, and I can happily play games offline (despite what the whingers say)

        Tell that to my laptop, which despite having logged in recently still insists on replying to my clicking of the "Go Offline"

        • by Kneo24 (688412)

          STEAM's offline mode does work. I don't know why people keep preaching that. Have you updated STEAM at all? Have you just tried to reinstall STEAM? I've never had any problems with it.

          Also, the whole pricing and region issue thing makes sense if you'd take a second to yank your head out of your ass. There's a few mitigating factors that you need to consider.

          The first being that in certain regions, games are censored in certain ways. If you have a game from a different region, it bypasses that censorship. Th

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by PainKilleR-CE (597083)

          You know, back in the old days, games were released without the ridiculous protections and they still sold... and some argue (I don't) that games back then were better quality anyway. And who said the only method of digital distribution was an honesty box? Apogee's method was brilliant - games were episodes and you could pick up the first episode for free, and buy the rest off them.

          Umm... people were doing some ack-basswords crap with games even before Apogee was doing shareware. Companies would print the manuals in such a way that they couldn't easily be photocopied, and then require you to enter the 30th word on page 5 of the manual, and the 5th word on page 7, and the 12th word on page 29, every time you played the game (not just when you installed it; and of course the word and page numbers were different each time). Of course, it was much less likely that someone would be downloa

      • by Pyrion (525584)

        Leave Steam running for a week or longer and then check its memory usage.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by lowlymarine (1172723)

        I guess it also means that in ten years when valve shuts down and the person that buys their platform, decides that out of maliciousness they don't want to continue offering the service, and also that at that stage I am too poor to afford 3D Virtual Lesbian Extravaganza on my VR rig, then I might be saying "Well, damn, I can't play TF2 against the other three people that are still trying to play it". But thats fairly unlikely.

        Because no one still plays online shooters from 10 years ago [gamespy.com] anymore, right?

      • by vertinox (846076)

        Have a louder cry about the DRM. I'm sure you'd love games costing several million dollars to develop shoved up on FTP with an honesty box, but someone with any brainpower whatsoever would realise that its fucking retarded.

        Its what Paradox Interactive [paradoxplaza.com] does with Gamer's Gate [gamersgate.com] with their own games (3rd party titles I'm not so sure).

        You could say the actual download process is DRM because you do have to install the Gamer's Gate Client to download the game, but once you have downloaded any of Pdox's games you ca

      • Re:Bah,. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Fweeky (41046) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @09:56AM (#25135231) Homepage

        Steam being bloated? Steam takes up under a hundred meg of the 12 gig of steam games I have installed.

        Uh huh. Did you miss the 5GB of .gcf's it keeps hanging around, basically duplicating every file in every game you purchase off it? That, and the app itself takes a good 30 seconds to start, when it's not forcing yet another mandatory update on you.

        Steam's overhead here is on the order of 25GB, not 100MB, and it doesn't even put that overhead to good use by providing me the capacity of move installed games to other drives or roll back patches.

        On the other hand my entire Impulse install is 19MB, the games I've bought from it are on two other drives, I can archive them, reinstall them, roll back patches, or choose not to install patches without losing a notification that there is in fact a patch, and I don't need to wait for Impulse to start to run any of the games I've bought; they're pretty much just unmodified retail copies without DRM.

        GamersGate [gamersgate.com] similarly ships at least *some* unmodified, DRM free games. I'm not sure how far that extends, but Sword of the Stars' publishers gave them a limited exclusive for their latest expansion because they were so fast at distributing new patches, and the users seem to love them.

    • Seems the primary criteria would be, can I conveniently download, install, and play the game I want to play?

      As long as Steam's DRM doesn't interfere with that (it doesn't) it should be a non-issue.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        On the other hand, D2D's DRM does interfere with that -- at least, if you want to play any player-created content.

        Pity the fools that bought Oblivion from D2D; they were unable to use any mods, which are half the point of the game.

        Steam doesn't pull crap like that, thankfully.

        • by Kneo24 (688412)
          It sort of, kind of, can, but it's really not attributed to STEAM. Publishers sometimes have completely different versions for STEAM and other download services which can ruin such things, or so I've heard.
    • Re:Bah,. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Mascot (120795) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:39AM (#25132301)

      I guess you didn't notice many (most?) Impulse titles includes activation/hardware lock-in (as in you cannot move the files to a different computer unless you have Impulse there to log on and activate).

      In other words, pretty much like Steam.

    • Re:Bah,. (Score:4, Informative)

      by blahplusplus (757119) * on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:14AM (#25132473)

      Oldschool games no DRM

      http://www.gog.com/en/frontpage/ [gog.com]

    • by Kneo24 (688412)

      Impulses library is lackluster. Not only that, games that have DRM on and go through that service will still have DRM on them.

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @12:36AM (#25131387)

    TPB [thepiratebay.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @01:29AM (#25131853)

      Some of us prefer not to steal games, thanks.

      • by Spatial (1235392)
        Order it from Amazon... Then download it anyway. Many of the games I own have never had their discs taken out of the box. :)
      • by harl (84412)

        That's fine. Not a single person has ever been charged with theft for downloading a game.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cliffski (65094)

      Explain to me why you would take a game without paying it from there rather than buy it direct from a developer that uses no DRM?

      unless of course you don't give a fuck about anyone except yourself, want to save a few dollars, and wish to encourage even more developers to abandon PC gaming entirely?
      In which case, good work! things seem to be going according to your plan!

    • by Haeleth (414428) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:19AM (#25132843) Journal

      Yes, I suppose TPB is a convenient place for children and the morally immature to violate copyright law. Some of us, however, are adults, and have grasped that if something costs money then either you pay for it or you do without. For us, services like Steam are quite useful.

      • by Spatial (1235392) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @07:49AM (#25133853)
        Or we avoid all limitations, and buy the game AND download it from TPB. Best method if you ask me.
      • by Kreigaffe (765218)

        I generally don't pirate games (though I do legally buy more than I should).. but there are cases I'll do it (at least I finally figured out why I was having such problems with torrents.. hai2u comcast!)

        Some games can't be found anywhere. With consoles, there's a thriving used game market. Computer titles? Much much much less so -- so much less so that you could spend years searching for X and never find it (or pay MORE than original retail... wtf no thanks), or just grab a copy and "pirate" the no-lo

        • by Hatta (162192)

          With the ease of digital distribution these days, there's no excuse for Abandonware.

          Sadly, copyright law is at fault here. Many of these old games were made by companies that no longer exist, and no one knows who actually owns the copyright. Since there's no registration, and copyright lasts 70 years after the death of the author, it could be over 100 years before you can legally get your hands on a lot of old games. By then, I'm sure most of them would be lost to history if it weren't for the efforts of

  • I love steam, but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@gamerslas ... .com minus berry> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @12:39AM (#25131415) Homepage Journal

    I'm terribly worried about account security. I think it's an issue they need to work on. They need to put in place some sane policies regarding account security.

    If your account gets stolen, you may end up losing hundreds of dollars in games.

    I've bought from D2D before, no complaints really, but steam has a convenient application to store your games in and downloads are always available.
    I've bought from ubisoft direct download store. Sort of lacking in value though.

    Never heard of any others.

  • New Service (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @12:39AM (#25131417) Homepage Journal

    http://www.playgreenhouse.com/ [playgreenhouse.com]

    It is affiliated with (and I believe run by) the Penny Arcade guys. They sell games cheap, don't push DRM, and try to find games that offer Windows, Mac and Linux versions. They seem to offer trials for everything as well.

    • The thing about Greenhouse that worries me is that they have "well meaning but not meant to succeed start-up" written all over them. There is no nicer system out there right now when it comes to DRM, but I'm not even close to being convinced that they have any staying power. I'm afraid it will end up another Triton [wikipedia.org]; one day they go tit-up and it turns out that they can't just turn the DRM off, because they were too small to correctly establish a plan for winding down.
      • Possibly. They are new and small. They haven't dumped a bunch of money into the venture, and their side business (Penny Arcade) is so vastly successful, that Greenhouse doesn't have to be very successful in return. It isn't like they are worried about making a quick buck on their initial investment, which allows them the luxury of running the site how they see fit.

        I can't imagine it competing with Steam, but for me, it is perfect.

  • Uh, Xbox Live? (Score:4, Informative)

    by EGSonikku (519478) <petersen...mobile@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @12:47AM (#25131477)

    Is this limited to just PC? Because, yeah, I know it's popular to hate on the Xbox 360, but Xbox Live Arcade has some pretty nice stuff on it, especially lately. Castle Crashers, Geometry Wars 2, etc.

    And then there's the Wii with WiiWare and I think the PS3 has some stuff too ;-)

    • by EGSonikku (519478)

      Wow, modded -1 troll? I guess the hate is alive and well on /. :P

      Do I get modded up to break even if I posted this comment from my Linux laptop? :P

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      I think they left out a lot when leaving out the consoles. Because other than Steam, I've never heard of any of these download services. One of them is still in Beta, and hence, didn't even get a rating. When I read the summary, I immediately thought of WiiWare/Virtual Console. It's a great service, with some really top notch games. I've heard really good stuff about XBox Live Arcade also.
  • by Kid Zero (4866)

    I mean, I've got brand new copies of my fallout and fallout 2 disks, which have been ruined in between many moves.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      If you've already bought the game, why pay for it again? There are plenty of places to download replacement disc images.

  • by Thrull (1200785) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @12:52AM (#25131525) Homepage

    I use Steam and I actually sometimes look at the store tab with the intent to buy something, because it's easy. Lots of good independent games, and allows me to install on other computers with no major fuss (cept for Bioshock, curse you EA). The games are almost always cheaper too.

    I used the older version of Impulse (Stardock Central) and it seemed to work well enough, although the selection of games is low quality compared to Steam.

    And I know they rated Direct2Drive pretty high, but even they note:

    "You can't patch D2D games with downloadable patches; they require their own special patch procedure."

    If Direct2Drive has to rework every patch for every game they've ever offered to work with their locked down version, you have to wonder if some patches might get "delayed" or games wholly abandoned eventually... I seem to remember this coming up in one of my decisions to get a D2D or boxed version of a popular game in the past.

  • by joetainment (891917) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @12:59AM (#25131607)
    I used Good Old Games today. I was pretty happy, because it worked instantly and no fuss. Even came with pdf manual and mp3s of the soundtrack. The game I got was descent 1 and 2, replaying those games reminds me that its not just nostalgia, the games were actually great. I've played similar games since, but even though they have better graphics, they've not been better games. The early descent games *nailed* it. Also, I was impressed at the way it came with a pre-prepared version of dosbox, so it ran right away, no hassel. Very worth the purchase price, and the lack of DRM sealed the deal for me. I'm planning to grab Freespace 1 and 2 shortly.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      You know, FS2 [fsoinstaller.com] is open source and the data is freely redistributable. Works great on Linux too.

  • by NateE (247273)

    GamersGate is a good service. Has some exclusives and hard to find games. Just picked up King's Bounty. The Legend and will be picking up the 2nd Sword of the Stars expansion soon.

    http://www.gamersgate.com/ [gamersgate.com]

    DRM doesn't seems to be a big deal,
    "How many times can I download and/or install my games?
    Any game bought on GamersGate is yours to download and install as many times you like. Some games are protected with an activation limit but that limit is easily reset with an email to support@gamersgate.com"

  • by cliffski (65094) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:10AM (#25132785) Homepage

    Is there a reason why people are so keen to stick a middleman between them as gamers and the game creators?

    How much effort is it to just remember who you bought the game from, in case of needing any tech support. For multiplayer I can see how a buddy list might be nice, but for singleplayer, why add a new layer of middlemen, precisely the thing that the web was supposed to free games developers from?

    Every service you mention takes a cut off the money and gives a royalty to the actual game developer. Many devs support direct sales, and they ALL want you to buy direct, as they often get 90%+ of the money then, rather than the 40%+ they get from the mentioned services.

    • by MWoody (222806)

      So your solution is to purchase all digital downloads directly from the game publisher/developer, then. Meaning you have as many different download systems/clients/logins/ etc. to remember as you have games. I hope you detect my oh-so-subtle sarcasm when I say THIS IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA.

      (See: EA Download Manager.)

      • by cliffski (65094)

        *sigh*

        if you buy my games, you get a direct .exe link to an installer. there is no client, no services, no bullshit, no account, no login needed.

        Don't tar DEVELOPERS with the same shit publishers try to pull.

        When games buyers decide to stick with just one middleman to cut down on the installed bullshit, they just give that publisher huge monopoly power to fuck over the developer. If you buy direct from the developer, 90% of the time they won't install ANYTHING but the game.

        You don't need to have an account

  • Hardly any content here, really. Far as I can tell, his scoring system isn't based on the platforms themselves at all, but simply how many games there are. Nothing got less then 3.5.

    In particular he's got no problem with D2D games requiring special patches and usually being unmoddable, unlike the other services.

    So why is this on Slashdot?

  • How about Gametap? (Score:4, Informative)

    by WDot (1286728) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @06:40AM (#25133465)
    Gametap is a subscription service, yes, which means that if you stop subscribing your games stop working. However, they have tons of arcade games, classics, Sega console games, and even a startling amount of PC games for roughly the price of an Xbox live subscription. They try to sweeten the deal with tv shows and other extras, but you can take 'em or leave 'em. Some of the games you can buy to own.

    Whether Gametap's the best or not is up to you, but it seems odd that they left it out but put Good Old Games in (nothing against GOG, but Gametap's been around a bit longer and offers more games)
  • I recently happened to stumble across Good Old Games -- GOG.com [gog.com] -- which is a (supposedly) new download site. If it lives up to the claims on the first page, it'll singlehandedly be the best direct download game site ever. No DRM, cheap (under $10) games, Vista/XP-compatibility, after-sales support, etc.

    Whether it's legit or not, and/or whether it's actually capable of being as awesome as it sounds remains to be seen. Supposed to go live sometime this month (but we're running out of month, so..)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by lowlymarine (1172723)

      I'm in the private access beta, and it is legitimate and every bit as awesome as it seems (and then some). I bought Fallout 2 and Shogo: Mobile Armor Division for $6 and both were packaged as completely self-contained, DRM-free executable installers and run flawlessly on XP x64. Not to mention the games come with lots of fun extras, including full PDF manuals, MP3 soundtracks, wallpapers, etc. And there's no program to install on your computer, just a sleek website and they store everything for download

  • But unfortunately it has stupid region protection games. I tried to buy Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 off it for the PC the other day but it said it's not available in Europe. The game also wasn't available on Steam.

    If they think I'm going to drive all the way in to town to buy a physical copy in Europe due to some artificial restriction they've created based on my IP they have another thing coming.

    Oh and then they wonder why people resort to piracy.

    Steam doesn't seem to impose these stupid restrictions

    • by Fweeky (41046)

      While I really enjoyed GRAW, GRAW 2 had the feel of a community driven map pack, so unfortunately you're not missing much.

  • Has anybody had experience with Trygames.com [trygames.com]? They don't have the latest and the greatest, but they got Civ IV, Warhammer 40k, Supreme Commander, World in Conflict, Shogun, etc. Also classics like the Might and Magic Series plus a ton of casual games. I'm not sure if their games have DRM.

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